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Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

This Chinese family owned and operated authentic Sichuan joint has only been open barely two weeks yet they seem to already attract a bevy of Chinese customers. The chef came to Alpharetta by way of Mississippi where he used to own a Chinese restaurant for years. After 8 years here, he decided to open an authentic Chinese restaurant specializing in Sichuan cuisine.

The first thing I noticed about the dishes here is the authentic Sichuan flavors. Lots of garlic, ginger, chili peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns are used, and yes, the dishes are spicy as they should be. While the traditional menu, as of the moment, is sparse and very limited, the chef hopes to expand his repertoire and present a more enhanced menu in a week or two.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

One of my favorite Chinese appetizers is pig’s ear. I love the chewy, crunchy, gelatinous texture. I’ve had many, many variations of this dish and my favorite remains to be the kind where it’s combined with deep fried, crunchy tofu cubes in a sweet-soy-based sauce. But I do like all kinds. Here, the boiled ears are cooled, sliced thinly, then laced with spicy chili oil and sweetish-salty soy-based sauce. Delicious. I could eat a whole platter of this.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

The only other place I’ve had amazingly good, authentic Sichuan dumplings is San Francisco (and China, of course). I haven’t found the same taste anywhere here until now. These boiled dumplings are homemade. The wrappers are soft and chewy while the pork filling is very flavorful. I suspect they are boiled in chicken stock as there is no floury taste in them. The fresh minced garlic topping adds additional heat and pungency. The spicy, sweet-salty sauce with it is so fantastic, I was spooning heaps into my mouth.

MaPo Tofu is a yardstick when it comes to authentic Sichuan cuisine. This dish was so unbelievably good that it was demolished before I could even turn my camera on. The spicy chili and bean-based sauce is totally spot on. The spiciness is numbing yet the bold flavors of the sauce is retained. The tofu is creamy and the minced pork adds texture to this wonderful dish.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

The Traditional Spicy Beef Stir-Fry included slices of dry-fried beef. It had lots of dried chili peppers, onions, celery, carrots, green peppers, and lotus roots to provide a crunchy balance to the tender beef. This is another fantastic, spicy dish with lots of garlic and ginger flavors.

Cafe Q (Johns Creek)

A surprising hit, the Chicken Breast in Garlic Sauce sounds ho-hum on paper but delivered a knock-out punch. The tender slices of chicken were infused with a spicy-garlic-chili sauce that lightly coated all the ingredients. There were crisp pieces of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and wood ear mushrooms that made this dish an exceptional one.

Overall, a fantastic and inexpensive meal. Everything was delicious including the bubble teas with very, very chewy tapioca pearls (just the way they should be).

Insider tip:
Cash only at this time.
Prices average $5-9.

The scoop:
Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine
10475 Medlock Bridge Rd., Suite 105
Johns Creek, GA 30097
(770) 232-9388

Cafe Q Sichuan Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sean // Oct 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Gotta love Schezuan food. Spicy, pickled, and tons of garlic.

    You should’ve restrained and taken a shot of the mapo tofu! I’ll just have to go and check it out for myself I guess! Adding it to my places to go now

  • 2 David LaMont // Oct 15, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Overall, how does it compare to Sichuan House? Its AMAZING that we have 2 Sichuan-specific places within a few miles of each other!

  • 3 Chloe // Oct 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Sean — wait a couple of weeks until the new menu is out.

    David — Cafe Q trumps Sichuan House in flavors BUT, the only problem is the menu. Sichuan House has a more extensive menu and is able to provide a good number of authentic dishes. Cafe Q seems to be trying to gauge its clientele to see how authentic dishes will be received. So far, I sense the chef is playing safe and is still afraid to jump into his full potential. The extremely limited menu is a disappointment because the dishes taste a lot better than Sichuan House. Like I told Sean, wait a couple of weeks when the new and expanded menu debuts.

  • 4 Polprav // Oct 16, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  • 5 steven // Nov 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    eating their chicken with peppercorn. it’s got an intresting zing with what i’m guessing is coriander. The menu has been fleshed out, it covers pages, and not the ordinary american/chinese fare.

    They also accept credit cards now.

  • 6 Lynn // Feb 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I called Cafe Q today. An answer machin turn on: during the family emergency, the store is closed.

  • 7 Scott // Jul 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Cafe Q is reopened and under new management. Never been to the one in 2009 but the food from this chef is very authentic and better than Sichuan House. The good stuff menu is only written in Chinese but the waiter can help you pick a good dish. They also have American-Chinese.

    My favorite dish is the sichuan peppercorn filled water-cooked-fish. Their veggies are masterfully cooked – crunchy, barely cooked, and not too greasy. It’s my go-to Chinese place outside Buford Highway.

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